Lots of businesses advertise online, and there’s a good reason why.
Online advertising allows you to identify and target potential customers to maximize the impact of your campaigns. After all, there’s no point advertising boiler installation services to someone who is renting a small apartment in a multi-story building. This field is growing every year. In fact, in 2019, digital advertising revenue in the United States topped $100 billion for the first time. If you’re planning to grow your business in 2020, you need to create a strategy – fast.
If you have your own website and you’ve ever conducted your own research into digital advertising, you’ve almost certainly come across the two heavy hitters: Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. (If you’re interested in learning more, we have a whole blog post dedicated to digital advertising, designed specifically to help HVAC businesses.)
But how do you know if they’re working?
Once you spend time and money setting up your ads, you’re going to want to know how they’re performing. You need to know what the response is and how many people are clicking through to your website. If your hero service is replacing furnaces, are people finding the information they need? If yes, great! If not, what can you do to improve the page to generate new leads?
This is where Google Analytics comes in. It’s one of the most popular digital analytics tools available online and it’s free to use. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect:
This is a real-life example from HeatSource Mechanical, which has been providing superior products, elite craftsmanship and stellar customer service in the Mat-Su Valley for more than 35 years. The spike on February 13 coincided with an advertising campaign we ran on their behalf on Facebook, increasing traffic from zero on February 10 to 100 in a single day.
Interested in learning more? Read on, friend. Read on.
We would love to help! Our Google Analytics experts are experienced in developing effective strategies for HVAC businesses. Contact us today.
Google Analytics For Beginners
Okay, so what does Google Analytics do? Basically, it takes a deep dive into the numbers behind your website so you can know who’s looking, what they want, and what’s working best for your business. Here are some of the potential insights you will be able to glean:
- How many people visit your website?
- Where do they come from?
- Which pages are the most popular?
- What products are they most interested in?
- What services are they most interested in?
- How did they find your website?
The dashboard is designed to be user-friendly and can generate helpful reports on everything from the demographics, interests and behavior of your clients all the way through your acquisitions and conversions. In other words, this is a super handy tool and a great way to make sure you’re investing your time (and money) into effective strategies that will convert sales.
To use another example from our friends at HeatSource Mechanical, here’s a snapshot of the kind of data you can get about acquisitions (meaning new traffic to your website):
As you can see, it’s very straightforward. This chart shows which strategies are creating the biggest return on investment. We can see that the two biggest drivers are organic searches and social media – in fact, they’re almost equal. As far as digital marketing strategies go, this is a very healthy balance, and it means we should continue advertising in these areas.
“OK, that’s great… but I’m still not sure about digital advertising.” No problem, read this blog we created: Do Google AdWords Work For Marketing My Business?
How do I create a Google Analytics account?
Now that you understand what Google Analytics is about, it’s time to create a Google Analytics account. If you already have a Google log-in for a related service like Gmail, Google Drive or YouTube, you’ll be able to use that account. Otherwise, head to google.com/analytics and set yourself up with new one. Make sure to secure your account by selecting the option for two-factor authentication and keeping your password secret.
Fill in the details of your website and then generate the Google Analytics code, which you’ll need to copy and paste onto every page of your website that you plan to track. If you built your website yourself, you can add it into the script, or you can ask your developer to install it.
Next, step up goals to identify the actions you want users to take. For example, do you want people to contact you? Do you want them to sign up for a membership? That way, Google Analytics will know that’s an important metric and start collecting that data.
Google has lots of tutorials to help with this, but if you’d prefer to outsource it, we can help. Schedule a free consultation to learn about our Google AdWords marketing service.
Getting A Google Analytics Certification
When you start looking into Google Analytics, you’ll see a lot of articles talking about certifications. Can you get certified in Google Analytics? Yes. Do you need to? No.
The Google Analytics Academy offers free online courses that help you learn about Google’s measurement tools. There are a range of courses available, from beginner programs that teach you how to set up your account and analyze basic reports, right through to advanced offerings that help you understand the data collection process and more complex analysis and tools.
There are also Google Analytics Mini-Courses available on YouTube, which can help you get started an optimize your strategy. This is a great option if you’re keen to do it yourself.
You don’t have to be certified to be able to use and understand the software. Generally speaking, it’s a very intuitive program, especially once everything is up and running.
HeatSource Mechanical is a good example of a typical HVAC audience overview:
See? The menu on the left side of the page includes everything you need to know, and the software collates all the data into easy-to-understand graphs and charts. It certainly beats a spreadsheet, doesn’t it? There also are save/export/share buttons at the top right of each page, which makes it very easy to share the data and use it however you need.
However, if you’d like someone to help crunch the numbers, analyze the results and recommend strategies to take your business to the next level, contact us.
Understanding Google Analytics Reports
Google Analytics splits reporting into five main categories: Realtime, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions. Each of these categories has a drop-down menu that allows you to explore them in detail. Here is a quick overview with a case study from HeatSource Mechanical.
Realtime analytics are split into the following sub-categories: overview, locations, traffic sources, content, events and conversions. This gives you an insight into what’s going on with your website at any particular time and is a great way to tell if something is trending well… or if something is broken. It’s most useful for website that experience a high level of traffic.
Audience analytics provides a great way to get to know your audience. It drills down into specific detail when it comes to things like demographics, interests, geo, behavior, technology, and more. Who is reading your website? For how long? How many pages do they visit? This kind of information helps you tailor your page so you can give people what they want.
For an HVAC business like HeatSource Mechanical, we would expect to see something like this:
Information like this helps you maximize the impact of your messaging. You know that most of your customers will be aged 25-34, most of them are male, and they’re the kinds of people who lead active lifestyles. Because of this, you might go for a light and friendly tone and style with small chunks of text that are easy for a busy person to consume on the go.
The acquisition tab is an incredibly valuable resource. After all, what’s the point of digital advertising if you’re not selling more furnaces and installing more heating systems? It categorizes traffic based on Google Ads, your social media accounts and any campaigns you’re running. You’ll be able to see at a glance what’s working and where you should invest.
This data shows that search and social outreach is very effective for HeatSource Mechanical. In other words, this client is receiving a lot of traffic from Google and Facebook. There are two ways to drive traffic in this way: posting quality content that is relevant and interesting to prospective customers; and investing in Google and Facebook advertising.
What exactly is “quality content”? Here’s a quick guide to search engine optimization (SEO) which will help the content on your website stand out.
Behavior is a really fun tool (sorry, we love to nerd out about this stuff). This is where you get to know your customers and see how they progress to your site. Which of your pages is most effective at drawing in new customers? What do they read before they leave? How far do they read down each page before they bounce? It also tells you how your page is performing – how long does it take to load each page?
In this case, we can see that most of HeatSource Mechanical’s traffic comes through to the homepage, closely followed by the product page – in particular, looking at furnaces. After this first interaction, those who stay on the page either visit the contact page or the about page. This is great! It means customers either want to use your service or learn more about you.
It’s definitely worth making sure both of these pages are polished and that they provide helpful information so you can capitalize on this opportunity to convert a sale.
This page is relevant once you’ve set up some goals or if you’re running an e-commerce business through your website. It tracks things like the number of people who schedule a free consultation, the number of people who click through and buy a new product, and things like product performance and transaction value. This probably isn’t one for HVAC businesses.
“Okay, okay. That’s all making sense. What else do I need to know?” Here’s a blog that will teach you what analytics you should track.
We’re happy to answer all of your Google Analytics questions. In fact, we’re happy to build your website, set up your social media accounts and develop a killer strategy that will increase awareness of your brand and generate new leads for sales. Contact us today.